According to a survey conducted in May by the American Dental Association (ADA), Americans know little when it comes to taking care of our teeth. The ADA tested 1,500 nationally representative adults about common oral hygiene subjects, including how long and how often you should brush your teeth, and how often you should replace your toothbrush. As part of his dedication to excellent oral health through patient education, Waco dentist Dr. Corbet Locke gives a quick review of proper hygiene.

Proper Daily Oral Hygiene

One of the more surprising mistakes the participants made was suggesting that you should brush your teeth after every meal. While that may be ideal in fighting off the buildup of plaque and tartar, given the hectic schedules of the modern world, a brushing after every meal may be a bit unrealistic. The ADA recommends cleaning your teeth twice a day and flossing at least once. If done properly, this regimen will suffice to prevent bacterial plaque from residing in your mouth and around your teeth and gums for long enough to cause oral damage. Because plaque and food debris like to lodge in the spaces between your teeth, flossing is equally as important as brushing. Also, take care not to scrub too hard, but rather to gently brush the surfaces of your teeth. Harsh scrubbing can have the opposite of the desired effect. Your tooth enamel will wear away, weakening your tooth’s defenses against bacteria, and your gums will become irritated and pull away from the teeth, exposing the root.

If you have children, the ADA advises taking them to their first dental visit approximately six months after the eruption of the first tooth, or before your child’s first birthday.

Proper Maintenance

Many people believe that if they adhere to a proper routine, regular visits to the dentist are not necessary. The error in this logic is that many serious health issues, including periodontal (gum) disease and oral cancer, do not exhibit obvious signs until the condition has advanced. By the time a noticeable symptom drives you to the dentist, the damage may be so far progressed as to require extensive and invasive procedures, including surgery. Visiting Dr. Locke’s office at least once every six months will allow him to inspect the state of your oral health and advise you on optimal dental health care. To learn more about caring for your teeth, schedule a consultation by calling our Waco dental office at (254) 776-4888. We welcome patients from Waco, Woodway, McGregor, Hewitt, and surrounding communities.